Ensuring Sustainable Societal Impact of EU-Funded Biomedical Research & Innovation

Global Health Advocates very much welcomes the “Matching Health Needs and Pharmaceutical Research” conference organized by the Austrian Presidency today. With Horizon Europe on the negotiating table, the EU should shift towards a needs-driven R&I agenda that focuses on societal impact to deliver better health and wellbeing for citizens. Ensuring the accessibility and affordability of new health technologies is crucial to meeting health needs and delivering societal impact. In coordination with a range of health NGOs, GHA has developed a proposal for “Access Plans” to encourage beneficiaries of EU R&I funding to think upstream about accessibility challenges. GHA commends the willingness of the Austrian Presidency to focus on this highly important issue and urges political leaders to prioritise societal impact via accessibility in EU R&I.

Projet de loi de finances 2019 : hausse de l’aide publique au développement, et en même temps… Recul sur la TTF

Paris, le 24 septembre 2018 – Malgré les récentes annonces du président de la République, le projet de loi de finances pour 2019 engage la France sur une hausse d’à peine 4% de la mission aide publique au développement (APD) en 2019, et recule largement sur la taxe sur les transactions financières (TTF), désormais affectée à 35% au développement contre 50% auparavant.  

Le projet de budget ne s’engage en effet que sur une hausse timide de 4% de la mission APD, soit 130 millions d’euros en crédits de paiement – c’est-à-dire disponibles dès 2019 pour réaliser des projets dans les pays et pour les populations qui en ont le plus besoin. Un montant à ne pas confondre avec les autorisations d’engagements, qui autorisent la puissance publique à engager des sommes à moyen terme, mais ne représentent en aucun cas de l’argent immédiatement disponible pour les projets. Si nous saluons cette augmentation, elle reste bien insuffisante pour les pays et les populations qui en ont le plus besoin.

Le projet gouvernemental entérine en outre une diminution de la part de la taxe sur les transactions financières (TTF) allouée au développement, qui passe de 50% à 35% seulement des recettes totales dégagées par la taxe en 2019. Rappelons que cette taxe affectée, innovation française pour financer la lutte contre la pauvreté, garantissait des ressources prévisibles et pérennes pour les bénéficiaires de l’aide française, permettant de sanctuariser une partie conséquente des dépenses pour la solidarité internationale et la santé mondiale à l’abri des ciseaux de Bercy.

Ce nouvel arbitrage souligne donc une fois encore le manque de moyens associés à l’engagement présidentiel. Dans la dernière version de son étude publiée avec l’IDDRI[1], Action Santé Mondiale estime qu’une augmentation d’au moins 500 millions d’euros de la mission APD et une affectation de 100% de la TTF au développement sont nécessaires dès 2019 pour placer la France sur une trajectoire crédible pour atteindre les 0,55% du RNB alloués à l’aide. Un manque d’ambition également pointé du doigt par l’OCDE à l’occasion de la dernière revue par les pairs de la France[2], qui appelait la France à entreprendre « des actions immédiates » pour atteindre son engagement d’ici 2022.

Notes aux rédactions :

Taxe sur les transactions financières : on estime à 1,5 milliard le montant total des recettes de la TTF chaque année. 798 millions étaient auparavant affectées à l’APD à travers deux canaux : à hauteur de 528 millions par le Fonds de solidarité pour le développement (FSD) et de 270 millions par l’AFD.  Le projet de loi de finance 2019 prévoit la suppression de cette dernière affectation, ainsi compensée par une augmentation des crédits de paiements de la mission APD.

Mission aide publique au développement : le document de présentation du projet de loi de finances 2019 dévoile donc une augmentation trompeuse de 400 millions de la mission aide publique au développement, qui cache en réalité une réallocation des 270 millions de recettes de la TTF aux crédits budgétaires de la solidarité internationale. Ainsi, l’aide française n’augmente en réalité que de 130 millions d’euros, conformément à la loi de programmation des finances publiques 2018-2022.

Contact presse :

Claire Baudot, Responsable plaidoyer, Action Santé Mondiale : 07 81 31 03 66

[1] Vaillé, J., Rivalan, B., Baudot, C., Millot, S. (2017). La France peut-elle tenir son engage- ment de consacrer 0,7 % de la richesse nationale à l’aide au développement ?, Studies N°10/17, Iddri, Paris, France, 20 p.

[2] OCDE (2018), Examens de l’OCDE sur la coopération pour le développement : France 2018, Éditions OCDE, Paris.

Ending malnutrition: what role for the private sector? From prevention to treatment

 

Full report –  Executive Summary

 

 

After over a decade of decline, the number of people suffering from hunger is on the rise again – reaching 815 million in 2016. Still, the world produces enough food to feed its current population. This is a sign that the current food system is not fit to respond to the global challenge of hunger and malnutrition.

World leaders have committed to ending hunger and malnutrition as part of the universally agreed Agenda 2030. Acknowledging that development aid resources alone were never going to be enough to finance the Sustainable Development Goals, innovative financing tools are emerging out of the political discussion as alternate ways to finance sustainable development. Leveraging private sector investments is often identified by donor countries as one of the most promising tool – often referred to as a “silver bullet”. The European Union for instance, with the launch of its External Investment Plan, will be mobilising the private sector with the goal of boosting investments in sustainable development and agriculture.

However, the role of private sector in financing development is raising key questions: what impact do private investments have on improving the livelihoods of people living in poverty? Can private sector investments show a clear development added value? Which private actors are best placed to ensure positive contributions to sustainable development?

Global Health Advocates, with its new report Ending malnutrition: what role for the private sector, provides some food for thoughts around these questions, analysing specifically the role of the private sector and its impact on the causes of malnutrition, acknowledging that the impact of different private sector actors should surely be differentiated and measured.

In particular, private companies are getting increasingly engaged in interventions to treat malnutrition and can have varying impacts on its immediate causes. In some cases, such as in the production of ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat children suffering from acute cases of malnutrition, companies can play a key role in ensuring the provision of high quality, effective and affordable products. In other cases, private companies are putting children’s lives at risk when illegally marketing baby milk formula, undermining the promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, one of the best natural ways to prevent malnutrition. In addition, private companies are massively investing in interventions to fight micronutrient deficiencies through food fortification and biofortification programmes. We consider these interventions to be “techno fixes” to the complex challenge of malnutrition bringing only short-term benefit if not properly integrated into strategies to shape food systems that can deliver healthy and diversified diets.

However, such initiatives to respond to the immediate causes of malnutrition cannot be the only answer. Even if fully scaled-up, they could reduce chronic malnutrition only by 20.3%. As a consequence, strong efforts are needed not only to treat malnutrition, but also to prevent it, implementing policies that can guarantee universal access to diverse, safe, affordable and nutritious diets, ensuring the universal right to food.

Interventions in agriculture can play a crucial role in ensuring food systems are working effectively for nutrition. However, the widespread industrial model of agriculture is failing to ensure universal access to diversified and nutritious diets. Being based on intensive monocropping, today three crops alone (maize, rice and wheat) are currently supplying more than half of the calories people get from food. In addition, this model of agriculture is also having negative impacts on the environment and on people’s health.

Diversified models of agroecology are increasingly emerging as a promising alternative: they have the potential to deliver positive nutrition outcomes, at the same time empowering small farmers, respecting the environment and building resilience. Small farmers, together with cooperatives and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), are the most legitimate and relevant private sector actors with a key role to play in shifting towards diversified models of agroecology.

If we are to end hunger and malnutrition by 2030, strong efforts to prevent malnutrition and tackle its root causes are crucial. We need to ensure that investments in agriculture shift away from the industrial model towards a more sustainable diversified agroecological model, targeting and empowering small farmers, as they are the main drivers of change towards delivering sustainable and positive nutrition outcomes.

You can download:

Full report –  Executive Summary

Civil society asks upcoming Austrian EU Presidency to defend access to medicines

Access to meds civil society organisations are in Vienna for their annual meeting. On 27 June, they are organising a small demonstration in front of the Health Ministry to hand out this letter to the Minister of Health.

Banners today read: “Austrian Presidency of the EU: put patients before profits”. “Pharma score goals with high prices” “Pharma 3 – Patients 0”

Leaving development cooperation behind: is the EU turning its back on Agenda 2030?

Brussels – 14 June 2018

While many are rejoicing at the prospects of increased resources for external action in the face of Brexit, this is by no means justified. The proposal for a Neighborhood, Development, International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) does not constitute an EU pledge to support partner countries’ efforts to “leave no one behind”.

Indeed, the proposal to merge 12 instruments from a wide array of policies – such as development, neighborhood, human rights and peacebuilding – into a single instrument de facto dilutes their distinct original objectives. This new instrument pledges to “uphold and promote the Union’s values and interests worldwide”. Read: member states’ economic and policy interests in partner countries. This means that the most vulnerable regions risk being left out at the expense of countries with strategic geopolitical interest.

This reconfiguration marks a major shift away from the EU’s principled and long-term approach to development cooperation. Agenda 2030 is clearly not the underpinning political framework for the EU’s future external action. And aid effectiveness principles are to be applied “when relevant”. But how and by whom will these judgments on relevance be made?

Clearly, the EU has lost sight of aid’s original purpose: addressing the root causes of poverty through substantial investments in areas like health and education. Rather, development aid is now considered a tool to leverage partner countries’ cooperation on matters linked to EU’s interests, such as security and migration. This – and not putting the EU’s political weight behind the Sustainable Development Goals – explains why the Commission proposes a much larger proportion of funds to be spent via geographical programmes.

Of course, foreign policy and development cooperation objectives do not inevitably clash, but there can be conflicts and the Commission provides no answers as to how they will be solved: who will set priorities, arbitrate between competing interests and ultimately decide? Who will control the resources?

These questions of accountability are all the more important as there is much more margin for interpretation planned under the new proposal: flexibilities for emerging challenges are being increased to 10% of the budget, and the Commission intends to allocate another 10% to migration, without detailing which specific areas will be prioritized. One should not overlook that EU elections are coming, that new Commissioners will be put in place and that polls for the progressive camp are all but promising. Therefore, too much flexibility risks pulling the EU further away from its principles and international commitments.

At the institutional level, things are even more unclear: how will responsibilities be shared between the EU External Action Service and DG Development? The same question goes for the European Parliament and the Foreign Affairs and Development Committees.

Many of our concerns align with the European Parliament’s recurrent positions. We therefore count on the Parliament to use all its power to drastically amend the single instrument and turn it into a Sustainable Development mechanism, and to clarify its governance, including priority setting. We also urge Member States to support an alternative proposal that is aligned with the Lisbon Treaty and conducive to the realization of the Paris agreement and Agenda 2030. The clock is ticking, and there won’t be a plan B.

Check the full statement here.

Ensuring EU funded medical R&I delivers for EU citizens and beyond: Civil society reaction to the European Commission’s proposal on Horizon Europe

Full reaction here

Brussels, 7 June 

We, the undersigned twenty one civil society organisations, raise our strong concern about the European Commission proposal on the next research framework programme Horizon Europe which fails to make a serious commitment to ensure public interest-driven biomedical R&I.

Though the challenge of access to medicines has long been a concern for low- and middle-income countries, high prices and the lack of added therapeutic value now also threaten equitable access to treatment in the world’s wealthiest countries, including in Europe. Despite numerous political statements and recommendations of the European Parliament[1] and the Council[2] to find alternative and sustainable R&I models that would guarantee better health outcomes for everyone, the Commission proposal on Horizon Europe fails to include concrete safeguards that would help to maximise public return on investments for publicly funded R&I and address public health needs. The new framework also rolls back EU commitments on the fight against poverty-related and neglected diseases which suffer from a lack of private sector interest to invest in R&I.

We believe that the need to deliver suitable, safe, effective and affordable innovative health technologies should be prioritised in all six health areas of intervention identified in the Horizon Europe framework.

Furthermore, a new requirement should be introduced according to which all beneficiaries of EU public funding for biomedical R&I for treatment, prevention or diagnosis of seriously debilitating or life-threatening diseases shall commit to access, effectiveness, affordability and availability principles. Details on how the project results and potential health products will be made accessible, effective, affordable and available shall be outlined jointly by all applicants in the appropriate section of their application. Depending on the stage of R&I, some elements will be developed to a greater or lesser extent.

The next EU research programme is an important vehicle to implement increasingly prominent political recommendations of the European Parliament and the Council and to increase the societal impact of biomedical R&I. This will be key to reinforce EU citizens’ confidence and show that investments into health R&I result in high-quality, accessible and affordable products and more effective health systems.

 

List of signatories

  1. Access to Medicines Ireland
  2. AIDES (France)
  3. BUKO Pharma-Kampagne (Germany)
  4. Commons Network
  5. Consumer Association the Quality of Life – EKPIZO (Greece)
  6. Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevoelkerung – DSW
  7. Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative – DNDi
  8. European Public Health Alliance – EPHA
  9. France Assos Santé (France)
  10. Global Health Advocates – GHA
  11. Global Justice Now (UK)
  12. Grupo de Ativistas em Tratamentos – GAT (Portugal)
  13. Health Action International – HAI
  14. Health Projects for Latvia
  15. Just Treatment (UK)
  16. Médicins sans Frontières Access Campaign – MSF
  17. Salud por Derecho (Spain)
  18. StopAids UK
  19. The All-Ukrainian Network PLHIV (Ukraine)
  20. The Romanian Association Against AIDS (Romania)
  21. Universities Allied for Essential Medicines – UAEM 

Contacts:

Marine Ejuryan, Global Health Advocates, mejuryan@ghadvocates.org

Viviana Galli, European Alliance for Responsible R&D and Affordable Medicines,

viviana@medicinesalliance.eu

 

Industrial competitiveness as ‘societal challenge’? Ensuring accountability and societal impact in Horizon Europe

CSO reaction to the Commission’s FP9 proposal

Full reaction here

Brussels, 7 June

The European Commission proposal for a regulation establishing the Union’s ninth research and innovation (R&I) framework programme Horizon Europe, suggests to include “industrial competitiveness” in the objectives and name of the future 2nd pillar “global challenges”. This would be a serious mistake.

Public investments must generate public returns. Publically funded R&I should thus balance its focus between scientific excellence, economic and societal impact. Industry is a key partner also in delivering societal impact, but merging and blurring profit-oriented objectives with societal impact-oriented objectives risks limiting the already-scarce funding available for addressing societal challenges, endangers a needs-based R&I agenda, threatens the traceability of public funding needed to monitor public return on public investments and risks further excluding citizens and civil society from R&I.

As Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) we therefore urge Member States and the European Parliament to secure an Independent pillar for global challenges

  • Whose objectives and priority setting focus solely on addressing societal challenges, guided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement, acknowledging that excellent R&I in this area will create quality jobs and has a significant economic return, in and of itself, and without adding “industrial competitiveness” to the programme pillar;
  • That is co-programmed with citizens and civil society, acknowledging them as key stakeholders in identifying and addressing societal challenges and ensuring a needs-based R&I priority setting. In particular, a roadmap is urgently needed on how Horizon Europe will overcome barriers to CSO and citizens engagement;
  • Assesses project proposals based primarily on their potential to deliver on societal challenges; and measures performance based on adequate societal impact indicators that focus on the progress towards the realisation of the SDGs;
  • Focusses on delivering sustainable alternatives to our current high growth, high consumption models and safe, effective, affordable and accessible R&I solutions to improve people’s lives and well-being.

To ensure public return on investment and accountability, all future pillars and programme parts of Horizon Europe – including European Partnerships – need to include adequate safeguards that mainstream sustainable development, define and monitor societal impact, apply strict ethical standards, guarantee open access to research results, promote open access to research data (with strict criteria for derogations), make the programme as transparent and participatory as possible, and report on the participation of CSOs in not just the implementation but also the programming and monitoring of programme activities.

EU set to downgrade political ambition on health of EU citizens

Brussels – 30 May

The EU Civil Society Forum on HIV, TB and Hepatitis, gathering leading civil society organisations at the national and regional level in the EU and neighbouring countries, welcomes with caution the merging of the EU Health Programme into an enlarged European Social Fund+.

While the will to address socio-economic determinants of health by the creation of synergies within programmes is a positive move, a new governance structure is a concern, as it may represent a loss of political leadership and further downgrade the importance of health from a Health Programme to a Health Strand. We can rightly ask ourselves whether we are going to lose the post of Commissioner for Health in the next EU MFF.

Strong leadership on health is expected and will resonate well with European citizens. 70% of Europeans want the EU to do more for health and social issues. Europe, with its longer term of office and regional convening power, can do more than any national government to turn that around and leave a healthy legacy for its future generations.

We deplore the proposed 8% cut in health funding compared to the 2014-2020 period. Investing in people in a social Europe needs a reinforced health programme with increased long-term funding, capable of delivering pan European projects with regional added value such as in the field of infectious diseases, contributing to the reduction of health inequalities in the Union, and ensuring an adequate European response to major health concerns. However, at the current pace Europe will not be reaching the SDG goals on HIV, TB and Hepatitis by 2030.

The EU needs to safeguard its rights-based approach to health in the next EU MFF, as well as provide the adequate financial and technical means to ensure a sustainable regional response to the fight against HIV, AIDS, TB and Hepatitis in Europe. EU action on cross-border health threats should not limit itself to responding to crisis, as is suggested by the regulation’s operation objectives in Health.

The emphasis on curbing health inequalities and reinforcing the sustainability of our health systems, especially at the community level for the most vulnerable is key. Cooperation with civil society organisations in this regard should continue to be the norm while we strive to make more progress towards Agenda 2030.

Lutte contre les pandémies : les associations saluent la décision de la France d’accueillir la conférence de reconstitution des ressources du Fonds mondial

(Paris, le 16 mai 2018) Nos associations se félicitent que la France ait décidé d’accueillir la 6ème conférence de reconstitution du Fonds mondial de lutte contre le sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme en 2019 annoncée dans un communiqué de presse de l’Élysée le 16 mai 2018.

Nos ONG saluent cette annonce très attendue qui réaffirme l’engagement de la France en matière de lutte contre les grandes pandémies. En 2016, le VIH-sida, la tuberculose et le paludisme ont infecté, à elles trois, plus de 228 millions de personnes et causé la mort de 3 millions d’entre elles.

En tant que deuxième contributrice historique du Fonds mondial, la France a contribué à sauver 22 millions de vies depuis 2002. Maintenant, elle a le devoir de faire de cette conférence un succès pour respecter l’engagement international de mettre fin au sida, à la tuberculose et au paludisme d’ici 2030.

Avec la présidence du G7, la France aura les clés en main pour garantir le succès de cette conférence de reconstitution du Fonds mais aussi pour faire de 2019 une année d’engagement politique et financier en faveur de l’aide publique au développement et de la santé mondiale. Dans l’esprit partenarial du Fonds mondial, nos ONG appellent le gouvernement à travailler en collaboration avec la société civile française à ce succès.

 

Contact Presse :

Action Santé Mondiale – Margot Jaymond / 06 64 80 05 72

Oxfam France – Caroline Prak / 06 31 25 94 74

Sidaction –  Marine Charlier / 01 53 26 45 36

Solidarité Sida – Gautier Centlivre / 07 70 00 28 81

ONE – Charlotte Grignard / 06 22 41 00 41

 

Notes aux éditeurs :

  • En 2016,
    • 1,8 millions de personnes ont été infectées par le VIH et 1 million de personnes sont décédés du sida. Sur les 36,7 millions de personnes vivant avec le VIH, seules 20 millions bénéficient d’un traitement antirétroviral dont 11 millions grâce aux programmes financés par le Fonds mondial.
    • 10,4 millions de nouveaux cas de tuberculose ont été constatés et 1,7 millions de personnes en sont décédés.
    • 216 millions de cas et 445 000 décès dus au paludisme ont été constatés, dont environ 90 pour cent en Afrique subsaharienne. Le paludisme est présent dans 91 pays.
  • Créé en 2002, le Fonds mondial est un partenariat entre les gouvernements, la société civile, le secteur privé et les personnes touchées par les maladies investissant l’argent de ses donateurs dans des programmes locaux dans le but d’accélérer la fin des trois pandémies. La conférence de reconstitution permettra au Fonds mondial de lever des ressources pour son prochain cycle de trois ans en 2020-2022.